The budget was passed with a 72-47 tally vote that included five votes from conservative blue dog Democrats: William Brisson (Bladen), James Crawford (Oxford), Bill Owens (Elizabeth City), Dewey Hill (Brunswick), and Timothy Spear (Dare).
While Republicans asserted that the cut in the budget will provide a much needed tax relief and improve the economy and job market, Democrats are not so easily convinced.
“When you cut so many jobs in one year, nobody’s going to be buying a house, nobody is going to be renting the new condos downtown, nobody’s going to be shopping at businesses, and nobody’s going to be eating at restaurants,” said Rep. Deborah Ross of Raleigh at a meeting with members of the House.
According to the Governor’s Office, more than 26,000 positions will be cut. This includes 4,000 positions cut in state agencies, 1,392 positions cut in the community college system, 3,000 cuts in North Carolina’s University system, and the perhaps the most controversial of all—18,330 positions cut in the public school system.
North Carolina, once at 20th in the nation for teacher pay, will now rank at 45th. If able to maintain their jobs, public school educators will also earn the lowest rank in pay they have received in sixty-four years.
“We’re in the trenches now,” said Patricia Corbino, teacher at Leesville Road Middle School, during a teacher rally on Tuesday, May 3.
“It’s important that those people in the legislature hear what we have to say because they could never do what we do. They are too unaware to fight for us, and if we don’t fight for ourselves, nobody will,” she said.
“Teachers make all other professions possible,” said Charlotte Turban, retired NCAE President. “Rallies like this are an obvious cry for help. It’s no longer about salaries. In fact, it never really was. This time, it’s about positions; it’s about education; it’s about the future.”
To the despair of North Carolina educators, parents and students, the rally outside the congressional meeting did not stop the Republicans from passing their bill.
In fact, Republican Representative Tom Murray called the rally “obnoxious” and dismissed the rally as “unnecessary” when addressing Leesville’s Capital Pride about the event when they visited the legislature for a singing oportunity.
“We’re trying to ease the pain of taxes, and I am proud of the bill we’re passing,” said Rep. Nelson Dollar.
The House Bill will now go to the Republican controlled Senate. They, in turn, will pass their own version of the budget by June 1.